Thursday, January 29, 2009

For someone who needs it...possibly

****(In this post names have been changed to protect the anonymous)****

This is a brief update! I met with my sponsor (who I will call Maryl Streep) today for about two hours. I've just done the third step and am gearing up for the fourth where I make a "searching and fearless moral inventory" of myself. Heh heh- fearless! Waaaaaaaahahahahahahaha! I'm scared to death! Ah ha ha! [laughter dying down] Ha..ha!...oooh.

So what I am about to write is for those of you out there (Al-anon, AA, or NA) who might be going through the steps too.

Just in case you're shaking constantly, feeling raw and terrified most of the time, I'm right there with you. And when I saw "raw" I mean really, really raw. I'm a sushi roll. And I mean, like, not even the rice is cooked. On my Sunday night meeting I trembled the entire time. But Meryl Streep told me today that she thinks I'm doing awesome. She said she's seen a lot of growth in me since I showed up in Al-Anon last summer. Hooray! Approval from the big sister I never had! She said that the first three steps are really a daily continuing practice - admitting I don't have control, that a higher power can help me, and then giving my problems up to God.

On Sunday I met a new person, named Pat Benatar who is also new to the program. She said she was scared too and we bonded over that for a while. Then, without thinking about it, I volunteered to help for the next meeting.

The group moderator, Ulysses S. Grant, raised his bushy eyebrows. "Awesome," he said. "What do you want to do?"
"Uhhh...what do you need?"
He was unclear about this so he said he'd call me.

The group leader (I don't remember exactly what they're called) of the Wednesday meeting, Sophia Loren, was much more specific. That meeting is in the middle of the day, and it attracts mostly retired old ladies. This is a sharp contrast to Sunday's meeting which is mostly bohemian. Anyway, Sophia Loren, like most small old ladies I know, had a list of things I could do.

"First, honey, if you could lift this suitcase for me that would be wonderful," she said, beaming.
There was an entire suitcase of new books and meeting materials that needed to be carried back into the supply closet. So I am now the brute strength of the group. Feels good to be doing service.

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you if you happen to be new to all of this like me is that it is the most painful and wonderful thing I've ever gone through. Even right now I'm shaking and my stomach feels sick, but I wouldn't go back to the way I was before if you paid me. (of course, you never know, I'm willing to take offers) There's a new voice that's talking in my head, and it's the parent I never had. She's cool and calm, and maternal, and I think she's the person I'm turning into. I hope she is. She's so strong and groovy.

And amazing things are happening! My mom apoloized to me! She's on the 9th step and she said I was the first person she wanted to apologize to. At first I was nervous. I didn't know what she was going to say, and I was afraid for her to bring up really painful things. But she didn't get specific and I was glad. She just said, "I'm sorry for how much I've hurt you. I know it's a lot. I want you to know that I'll do anything I can to make up for it. Is there anything I can do?"

The kid in me thought, "Ask for a Wii!" but the new, stronger voice in me came out and said, "Take care of yourself. You know, I used to have all those nightmares that you were screaming for help and I couldn't help you. You're taking better care of yourself now, and it makes me feel better. You're doing good, just keep it up. It's nice to see you this way." I could have told her never to drink again, just promise me you won't drink or take pills again. But she can't promise that. So I guess I told her the next best thing.

For those of you who don't know my mom this was amazing. I never thought she'd say that. I never even thought she'd stay dry so long, but she's really working hard. I was proud of her because I know that must have taken a lot of courage to admit with your own kid.

Anyway, I just had this nagging feeling that somebody else needed to read this. It could just be the caretaker in me. We're in this together whoever you are, Meryl Streep, Sophia Loren, Ulysses S. Grant and Pat Benatar!

We belong to the light!
We belong to the thunder!


melissa bastian. said...

Wow, that conversation with your mom sounds super intense. Scary, but also wonderful. I wish I could say that either one of my parents have had that kind of epiphany, but alas, nay. It's really great though that your mom is making that kind of progress. Now even if she stumbles back somewhat, which you know is a possibility, you know where her heart is.

I'm also glad that you're keeping clear in your mind the separation between your mom's healing and your own - of course they're connected, but they are two distinctly different processes.

As far as being afraid, of course you're afraid. There's some great quote about how bravery is being terrified and doing what you know is necessary anyway - c'mon, somebody knows it. Well anyway, however it goes, I couldn't agree more. Being brave isn't a lack of fear; it's following through despite the fear.

Keep it up with all this self love and hope and positive energy - you're doing great. Oh, and re: your last post, duh you're cute! Have you seen those kids of yours? Cuteness abounds - and they take after their mother! You see it in them - 'bout time you see it in you. Hug yourself all you want. :)

Genevieve said...

Thanks, Mel. This comment and your last one were really thoughtful. I hadn't thought of it as separating my mom's healing from my own.

melissa bastian. said...

Hey, you don't spend a dozen years in therapy without picking up a thing or two. :P

Christy said...

SO SO SO awesome about your mom! I am so happy for both of you!

But now I want sushi, and I can't anything raw. Thanks a lot, Gwen.

By the way, like Meryl, I've seen a lot of wonderful changes in you over the past year as well. I am so proud of you!

Tom said...

"Being brave isn't a lack of fear; it's following through despite the fear."

I agree with this. I remember hearing this quote as well. I believe it went like, "Bravery isn't that absence of fear, it's acting in the face of fear." However, I am also unable to remember where I heard it.

On thing about that lack of fear thing, fear is good. Fear keeps us safe from danger. It's a warning system. If we had no fear we would hurt ourselves through wrecklessness. Being overpowered by fear is a problem, but simply having it? Not a bad thing. We're all SUPPOSED to have it, we're just not supposed to act on it in ways that wreck our lives.

Someone once told me, "Ninety percent of the decisions we make are made out of fear, either fear of not getting what we want, or fear of facing something we don't want to face." I don't like that idea, but I think there's something to it. It might be true. I still don't like it, but what can I do about that?

Genevieve said...

Christy - You're (sniff!sob!) proud of me? Thanks, little momma. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell the internet world. You guys know why Christy can't have sushi? She's pregnant! Yay!

Tom- I agree with that depressing statement about fear. Of course, I haven't made a whole lot of good decisions when brave about something that I should NOT have been. Like that night I got on a leaky sorry-excuse-for-a-boat in the swamp with pot heads. Billy, you reading this? Tell me why we did that again?

Billy said...

Sorry - I'm just now catching up. I don't know. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But we excelled at making bad choices in the mid-90's. I still had fun!

I think if we examined what the hell we were doing spending so much time with the pot-heads in the first place that some of our poor choices back then might make more sense. Chalk it up to experience.